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Homemade Granola Bars

Everyone in my house loves granola bars.  While we like to pretend that they are a healthy snack, most of the store bought kinds are filled with junk. In hopes of creating a healthy alternative, my kid and I set out to make some granola bars from scratch.  Our first attempted was a no-bake recipe. My kid liked the taste but I had to feed them to him because they were way too sticky.  (He didn’t want to keep washing his hands!)  The next attempt was baked in a 9×13 pan, but once they cooled we practically needed a saw to cut them and they fell apart anyway.  Then one morning while we were baking muffins it hit me that muffin tins could very well be the solution to our quest for the perfect granola bars. Although “bars” aren’t usually round, we decided to go for it.  We created our own new recipe and tried it out in the muffin tins… and voila!  Not too sticky, not too hard, these granola bars were just right!  We think these make the perfect play date snack, hostess gift or simply breakfast on-the-go.

Prep Time: 15 mins  Cooking Time: 30 mins

3 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup sliced or chopped raw nuts
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
2/3 cup honey
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 to 3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 egg white
1 1/2 cup chopped dried fruit (cherries, almonds, apricots, raisins)

Preheat the oven at 350 degrees. Prepare muffin pan with paper liners.

On a sheet pan, spread the oatmeal and nuts and bake in the oven for 10 minutes.  Stir a few times while cooking and remove from oven when lightly browned.  Reduce the oven temp to 300 degrees.

Pour warm oats into a large bowl and stir in wheat germ, honey, vanilla, salt, brown sugar, vegetable oil and cinnamon. Combine very well. Check to make sure the mixture has cooled down and add egg. Mix to distribute evenly and add dried fruit. Spoon the mixture into prepared muffin pan. Using a second muffin pan, press the granola down very firmly! It’s important that the mixture is as packed down as possible.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool completely before carefully removing  liners. Makes 12 round granola bars.

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